Once again this year, anyone out partying at a Murray restaurant on New Year’s Eve will need to finish their drinks before the clock strikes 12.
The last time the serving or consumption of alcohol was allowed after midnight was New Year’s Eve in 2008. The month before, the owner of the now-closed restaurant J. Edwards Seafood Steaks and Spirits had requested that that the alcohol sales time be extended to 1 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2009 so that patrons could be served a champagne toast to ring in the new year. The Murray City Council did not agree to that request, but passed the second reading of an ordinance to extend the time to 12:15 a.m. by a vote of 7-5.
Since that time, no other business owner has requested a time extension. Mayor Bill Wells, who was a council member when the extended sales time was approved, said he was surprised no one had come back with a similar request the following year or any other year. He said he doubted the 15-minute extension had much of an effect on local businesses, so maybe this was why no one went to the trouble of coming to the council again.
“We (city officials) don’t go out looking for things to do ... and I guess we were waiting to see if any of the different businesses wanted to come and request that extra time, and they chose not to. So I guess they just figured, ‘Well, we know what the rules and regulations are. We’ll just abide by them.’ I was a little bit surprised (a request was not made), but I think the 15 minutes, I guess, to their patrons didn’t make a lot of difference anyway.”
Murray’s alcoholic beverage control administrator, Sgt. Kendra Clere, said officers would be monitoring restaurants to make sure they follow regulations on New Year’s Eve, but that she didn’t anticipate any problems.
Monday will be the first New Year’s Eve on which beer sales will be allowed in any stores in Murray. The cutoff time for package sales is also midnight because the city council voted to keep hours the same for stores as they are for restaurants after package sales became legal. Clere added that although Murray currently has no taverns, the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has approved four tavern licenses. Those will be reviewed first by the Board of Zoning Adjustments and then by Clere, she said.